Biological Invasions

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 381–390 | Cite as

Response of ground-dwelling beetle (Coleoptera) assemblages to giant knotweed (Reynoutria spp.) invasion

  • Werner Topp
  • Heike Kappes
  • Frances Rogers
Original Paper


Giant knotweeds (Reynoutria spp.) are highly productive and aggressive invaders in riparian wetlands of Europe and North America. We sampled ground-dwelling beetles by pitfall traps from six sites comparing monotypic Reynoutria stands with the invaded native Urtica-dominated stands. Three sites were located in a semi-natural softwood forest and three sites were on a ruderal embankment. The analyses are based on a total of 13,244 individuals from 218 species. Location and site significantly influenced beetle assemblages. Moreover, there were pronounced differences between vegetation stands. The monotypic Reynoutria stands exhibited lower beetle abundance, species richness and rarefaction diversity irrespective of location. However, the negative effect on species richness, abundance and assemblage similarities were stronger on the transformed ruderal embankment than in the semi-natural softwood forest. Reynoutria invasion seems to influence microclimatic conditions. We found a higher abundance of silvicolous and a lower abundance of xerophilous ground beetles in the Reyountria stands than in the Urtica-dominated stands. Feeding guilds reacted differently to Reynoutria invasion that reduced the abundance of predators and herbivores but enhanced that of detritivores. Detritivores assumingly profit from the perennial presence of the large quantities of Reynoutria litter. We conclude that highly productive invaders pauperise the arthropod fauna and alter link strengths in trophic cascades shifting primary producer-based food webs to detritus-based food webs.


Fallopia Rarefaction diversity Trophic cascade Ecosystem functioning Carabidae Staphylinidae Microclimate Functional group Detritus-based food web 



Mrs. Birgit Schmitz (ULB Düsseldorf) issued the sampling permission for the nature reserve at Urdenbach (AZ 68/21-ULB-SZ). Furthermore, we are grateful to Rebecca Lay and Katrin Thelen for assistance during the field work and to two anonymous referees for valuable comments.


  1. Antvogel H, Bonn A (2001) Environmental parameters and microspatial distribution of insects: a case study of carabids in an alluvial forest. Ecography 24:470–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baars MA (1979) Catches in pitfall traps in relation to mean densities of carabid beetles. Oecologia 41:25–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beerling DJ, Dawah HA (1993) Abundance and diversity of invertebrates associated with Fallopia japonica (Houtt. Ronse Decrane) and Impatiens glandulifera (Royle): two alien plant species in the British Isles. Entomologist 112:127–139Google Scholar
  4. Beerling DJ, Bailey JP, Conolly AP (1994) Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decraene. J Ecol 82:959–979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Betz O (1998) Comparative studies on the predatory behaviour of Stenus spp. (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae): the significance of its specialized labial apparatus. J Zool Lond 244:527–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boháč J, Fuchs R (1991) The structure of animal communities as bioindicators of landscape deterioration. In: Jeffrey DW, Madden B (eds) Bioindicators and environmental management. Academic, Prague, pp 165–178Google Scholar
  7. Bonn A, Schröder B (2001) Habitat models and their transfer for single and multispecies groups: a case study of carabids in an alluvial forest. Ecography 24:483–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boscaini A, Franceschini A, Maiolini B (2000) River ecotones: carabid beetles as a tool for quality assessment. Hydrobiologia 422/423:173–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brose U (2003) Bottom-up control of carabid beetle communities in early successional wetlands: mediated by vegetation structure or plant diversity? Oecologia 135:407–413PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Colwell RK (2005) EstimateS: statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 7.5. Persistent URL <>Google Scholar
  11. Crooks JA (2002) Characterizing ecosystem-level consequences of biological invasions: the role of ecosystem engineers. Oikos 97:153–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis BNK (1983) Insects on nettles. Naturalists’ handbooks 1. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  13. Freude H, Harde KW, Lohse GA (1964–2004) Die Käfer Mitteleuropas, vol 1–14. Goecke and Evers, KrefeldGoogle Scholar
  14. Günther J, Assmann T (2005) Restoration ecology meets carabidology: effects of floodplain restitution on ground beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae). Biodivers Conserv 14:1583–1606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Herrera AM, Dudley TL (2003) Reduction of riparian arthropod abundance and diversity as a consequence of giant reed (Arundo donax) invasion. Biol Invasions 5:167–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Inoue M, Nishimura H, Li H-H, Mizutani J (1992) Allelochemicals from Polygonum sachalinense Fr. Schm. (Polygonaceae). J Chem Ecol 18:1833–1840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kappes H, Lay R, Topp W (2007) Changes in different trophic levels of litter-dwelling macrofauna associated with giant knotweed invasion. Ecosystems. doi:10.1007/s10021-007-9052-9Google Scholar
  18. Koch K (1989–1992) Die Käfer Mitteleuropas: Ökologie, vol 1–3. Goecke and Evers, KrefeldGoogle Scholar
  19. Lepš J, Šmilauer P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. Levin LA, Neira C, Grosholz ED (2006) Invasive cordgrass modifies wetland trophic function. Ecology 87:419–432PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lohse GA (1983) Ceutorhynchinae. In: Freude H, Harde KW, Lohse GA (eds) Die Käfer Mitteleuropas, vol 11. Goecke and Evers, Krefeld, pp 180–253Google Scholar
  22. Luff ML (1975) Some features influencing the efficiency of pitfall traps. Oecologia 19:345–357Google Scholar
  23. Pyšek P, Prach K (1993) Plant invasions and the role of riparian habitats: a comparison of four species alien to central Europe. J Biogeogr 20:413–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Robinson CT, Tockner K, Ward JV (2002) The fauna dynamic riverine landscapes. Freshw Biol 47:661–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Siemann E (1998) Experimental tests of effects of plant productivity and diversity on grassland arthropod diversity. Ecology 79:2057–2070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Siemann E, Tilman D, Haarstad J, Ritchie M (1998) Experimental tests of the dependence of arthropod diversity on plant diversity. Am Nat 152:738–750CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Strong DR, Lawton JH, Southwood TRE (1984) Insects on plants. Community patterns and mechanisms. Blackwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. Sukopp H, Starfinger U (1995) Reynoutria sachalinensis in Europe and in the far east: a comparison of the species ecology and its native and adventive distribution range. In: Pyšek P, Prach K, Rejmanek M, Wade M (eds) Plant invasions—general aspects and special problems. SPB Academic Publ., Amsterdam, pp 151–159Google Scholar
  29. Vitousek PM (1990) Biological invasions and ecosystem processes: towards an integration of population biology and ecosystem studies. Oikos 57:7–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Weston LA, Barney JN, DiTommaso A (2005) A review of the biology and ecology of three invasive perennials in New York State: Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) and pale swallow-wort (Vincetoxicum rossicum). Plant Soil 277:53–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zabel J, Tscharntke T (1998) Does fragmentation of Urtica habitats effect phytophagous and predatory insects differentially? Oecologia 116:419–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zedler JB, Kercher S (2004) Causes and consequences of invasive plants in wetlands: opportunities, opportunists and outcomes. Criti Rev Plant Sci 23:431–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zimmermann K, Topp W (1991) Anpassungserscheinungen von Insekten an Neophyten der Gattung Reynoutria (Polygonaceae) in Zentraleuropa. Zool Jahrb Syst Ökologie Tiere 118:377–390Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Terrestrial Ecology, Institute for ZoologyUniversity of CologneKolnGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations